MURRAY — Since starting this gig for Utah Theater Bloggers, I have become a fan of Desert Star Playhouse. I had never attended one of their shows before, and have now seen three productions. They have a tried and true formula for a good night out that they seem to consistently do well.
Their latest offering is The Princess Bridesmaid by Ed Farnsworth, which spoofs in equal measure The Princess Bride, Monty Python, and The Court Jester with a little Winnie the Pooh thrown in for good measure. The plot involves Prince Christopher the Robin who is being married to Princess Snapdragon for political reasons. He, of course, falls in love with her bridesmaid, Edelweiss Von Trapp and complications ensue. Kidnappings, political intrigue, and piracy are involved, but, in true Desert Star fashion, all works out in the end.
The laughs in this show come freely and frequently. Corinne Adair as Princess Snapdragon and Ashley LaRue Haslam as Edelweiss Von Trapp were perfectly cast. They both have excellent comic timing and had great comedic chemistry in their scenes together. Lisa Grow and Justin Berry as Cloak and Dagger, respectively, were an excellent team onstage. In the tavern scene, they almost stole the show with their antics behind the main action. Nick Whitaker as Prince Christopher the Robin was what every prince should be: dashing, debonair and slightly dim. He was great fun to watch especially in his Act Two solo atop the castle tower.
Matthew Mullaney as Sir Winston Poohbah did the bumbling sidekick act well. At times he was a little harder to understand (a complaint I also have to level, occasionally, at Justin Berry and David K. Martin) at times. Not sure if it was a microphone problem or just muddy diction. David K. Martin, however, deserves a special note. He played several characters (mostly women) and was very funny. Queen Sterling was perhaps his best character, while the barmaid was a little hard to understand for me. Anthony Buck as King Heffalump theWeasel was fantastic, and he has one of the best “fake” Scottish accents and plays comic villainy to the hilt.
Director Scott Holman has done a great job of keeping the pace moving and the energy high in this show. Costume design by Lynn Funk is at its typical best for Desert Star; nothing looks cheap or costume-like. I have one small wish and that is that there was a little more variety from the pianist in the interlude and pre-show tunes. Scott Joplin’s “Maple Leaf Rag” and Billy Joel’s “Root Beer Rag” are great tunes, but playing them at the fastest tempo possible and only those two tunes has gotten a little old for me on my third visit. Pianist Jill Flanagan is very talented and little variety might be nice. I have to also give a shout out to the wait staff at Desert Star. There are about 300 seats in the theater, and food and drinks being served throughout the show. They are amazingly adept at making all that happen and not disturbing or disrupting what is happening onstage. And they all seem so happy while doing it.
I’ve said it before (and will say it again) Desert Star knows their audience and their product and does a good job at it. It is a fun evening out, from the moment you enter the theater until the end of the olio they provide a very entertaining evening.